The potential relationship between the dose of citalopram administered and the incidence of adverse events was examined in a fixed-dose study in depressed patients receiving placebo or citalopram 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, and 60 mg. Jonckheere’s trend test revealed a positive dose response (p<0.05) for the following adverse events: fatigue, impotence, insomnia, sweating increased, somnolence, and yawning.
Although changes in sexual desire, sexual performance, and sexual satisfaction often occur as manifestations of a psychiatric disorder, they may also be a consequence of pharmacologic treatment. In particular, some evidence suggests that SSRIs can cause such untoward sexual experiences.
Reliable estimates of the incidence and severity of untoward experiences involving sexual desire, performance, and satisfaction are difficult to obtain, however, in part because patients and physicians may be reluctant to discuss them. Accordingly, estimates of the incidence of untoward sexual experience and performance cited in product labeling, are likely to underestimate their actual incidence.
The table below displays the incidence of sexual side effects reported by at least 2% of patients taking citalopram tablets in a pool of placebo-controlled clinical trials in patients with depression.
|Treatment||Citalopram (425 males)||Placebo (194 males)|
Abnormal Ejaculation (mostly ejaculatory delay)
6.1% (males only)
1% (males only)
3.8% (males only)
<1% (males only)
2.8% (males only)
<1% (males only)
In female depressed patients receiving citalopram, the reported incidence of decreased libido and anorgasmia was 1.3% (n=638 females) and 1.1% (n=252 females), respectively.
There are no adequately designed studies examining sexual dysfunction with citalopram treatment.
Priapism has been reported with all SSRIs.
While it is difficult to know the precise risk of sexual dysfunction associated with the use of SSRIs, physicians should routinely inquire about such possible side effects.
Citalopram and placebo groups were compared with respect to (1) mean change from baseline in vital signs (pulse, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure) and (2) the incidence of patients meeting criteria for potentially clinically significant changes from baseline in these variables. These analyses did not reveal any clinically important changes in vital signs associated with citalopram treatment. In addition, a comparison of supine and standing vital sign measures for citalopram and placebo treatments indicated that citalopram treatment is not associated with orthostatic changes.
Patients treated with citalopram in controlled trials experienced a weight loss of about 0.5 kg compared to no change for placebo patients.
Citalopram and placebo groups were compared with respect to (1) mean change from baseline in various serum chemistry, hematology, and urinalysis variables, and (2) the incidence of patients meeting criteria for potentially clinically significant changes from baseline in these variables. These analyses revealed no clinically important changes in laboratory test parameters associated with citalopram treatment.
In a thorough QT study, citalopram was found to be associated with a dose-dependent increase in the QTc interval (see WARNINGS — QT-Prolongation and Torsade de Pointes).
Electrocardiograms from citalopram (N=802) and placebo (N=241) groups were compared with respect to outliers defined as subjects with QTc changes over 60 msec from baseline or absolute values over 500 msec post-dose, and subjects with heart rate increases to over 100 bpm or decreases to less than 50 bpm with a 25% change from baseline (tachycardic or bradycardic outliers, respectively). In the citalopram group 1.9% of the patients had a change from baseline in QTcF >60 msec compared to 1.2% of the patients in the placebo group. None of the patients in the placebo group had a post-dose QTcF >500 msec compared to 0.5% of the patients in the citalopram group. The incidence of tachycardic outliers was 0.5% in the citalopram group and 0.4% in the placebo group. The incidence of bradycardic outliers was 0.9% in the citalopram group and 0.4% in the placebo group.
Following is a list of WHO terms that reflect treatment-emergent adverse events, as defined in the introduction to the ADVERSE REACTIONS section, reported by patients treated with citalopram at multiple doses in a range of 10 to 80 mg/day during any phase of a trial within the premarketing database of 4422 patients. All reported events are included except those already listed in Table 3 or elsewhere in labeling, those events for which a drug cause was remote, those event terms which were so general as to be uninformative, and those occurring in only one patient. It is important to emphasize that, although the events reported occurred during treatment with citalopram, they were not necessarily caused by it.
Events are further categorized by body system and listed in order of decreasing frequency according to the following definitions: frequent adverse events are those occurring on one or more occasions in at least 1/100 patients; infrequent adverse events are those occurring in less than 1/100 patients but at least 1/1000 patients; rare events are those occurring in fewer than 1/1000 patients.
Cardiovascular – Frequent: tachycardia, postural hypotension, hypotension. Infrequent: hypertension, bradycardia, edema (extremities), angina pectoris, extrasystoles, cardiac failure, flushing, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident, myocardial ischemia. Rare: transient ischemic attack, phlebitis, atrial fibrillation, cardiac arrest, bundle branch block.
Central and Peripheral Nervous System Disorders – Frequent: paresthesia, migraine. Infrequent: hyperkinesia, vertigo, hypertonia, extrapyramidal disorder, leg cramps, involuntary muscle contractions, hypokinesia, neuralgia, dystonia, abnormal gait, hypesthesia, ataxia. Rare: abnormal coordination, hyperesthesia, ptosis, stupor.
Endocrine Disorders – Rare: hypothyroidism, goiter, gynecomastia.
Gastrointestinal Disorders – Frequent: saliva increased, flatulence. Infrequent: gastritis, gastroenteritis, stomatitis, eructation, hemorrhoids, dysphagia, teeth grinding, gingivitis, esophagitis. Rare: colitis, gastric ulcer, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, duodenal ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, glossitis, jaundice, diverticulitis, rectal hemorrhage, hiccups.
General – Infrequent: hot flushes, rigors, alcohol intolerance, syncope, influenza-like symptoms. Rare: hayfever.
Hemic and Lymphatic Disorders – Infrequent: purpura, anemia, epistaxis, leukocytosis, leucopenia, lymphadenopathy. Rare: pulmonary embolism, granulocytopenia, lymphocytosis, lymphopenia, hypochromic anemia, coagulation disorder, gingival bleeding.
Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders – Frequent: decreased weight, increased weight. Infrequent: increased hepatic enzymes, thirst, dry eyes, increased alkaline phosphatase, abnormal glucose tolerance. Rare: bilirubinemia, hypokalemia, obesity, hypoglycemia, hepatitis, dehydration.
Musculoskeletal System Disorders – Infrequent: arthritis, muscle weakness, skeletal pain. Rare: bursitis, osteoporosis.
Psychiatric Disorders – Frequent: impaired concentration, amnesia, apathy, depression, increased appetite, aggravated depression, suicide attempt, confusion. Infrequent: increased libido, aggressive reaction, paroniria, drug dependence, depersonalization, hallucination, euphoria, psychotic depression, delusion, paranoid reaction, emotional lability, panic reaction, psychosis. Rare: catatonic reaction, melancholia.
Reproductive Disorders/Female* – Frequent: amenorrhea.
Infrequent: galactorrhea, breast pain, breast enlargement, vaginal hemorrhage.
* % based on female subjects only: 2955
Respiratory System Disorders – Frequent: coughing. Infrequent: bronchitis, dyspnea, pneumonia. Rare: asthma, laryngitis, bronchospasm, pneumonitis, sputum increased.
Skin and Appendages Disorders – Frequent: rash, pruritus. Infrequent: photosensitivity reaction, urticaria, acne, skin discoloration, eczema, alopecia, dermatitis, skin dry, psoriasis. Rare: hypertrichosis, decreased sweating, melanosis, keratitis, cellulitis, pruritus ani.
Special Senses – Frequent: accommodation abnormal, taste perversion. Infrequent: tinnitus, conjunctivitis, eye pain. Rare: mydriasis, photophobia, diplopia, abnormal lacrimation, cataract, taste loss.
Urinary System Disorders – Frequent: polyuria. Infrequent: micturition frequency, urinary incontinence, urinary retention, dysuria. Rare: facial edema, hematuria, oliguria, pyelonephritis, renal calculus, renal pain.
It is estimated that over 30 million patients have been treated with citalopram since market introduction. Although no causal relationship to citalopram treatment has been found, the following adverse events have been reported to be temporally associated with citalopram treatment, and have not been described elsewhere in labeling: acute renal failure, akathisia, allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, angioedema, choreoathetosis, chest pain, delirium, dyskinesia, ecchymosis, epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, angle closure glaucoma, grand mal convulsions, hemolytic anemia, hepatic necrosis, myoclonus, nystagmus, pancreatitis, priapism, prolactinemia, prothrombin decreased, QT prolonged, rhabdomyolysis, spontaneous abortion, thrombocytopenia, thrombosis, ventricular arrhythmia, torsade de pointes, and withdrawal syndrome.
Citalopram is not a controlled substance.
Animal studies suggest that the abuse liability of citalopram is low. Citalopram has not been systematically studied in humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance, or physical dependence. The premarketing clinical experience with citalopram did not reveal any drug-seeking behavior. However, these observations were not systematic and it is not possible to predict, on the basis of this limited experience, the extent to which a CNS-active drug will be misused, diverted, and/or abused once marketed. Consequently, physicians should carefully evaluate citalopram patients for history of drug abuse and follow such patients closely, observing them for signs of misuse or abuse (e.g., development of tolerance, incrementations of dose, drug-seeking behavior).
In clinical trials of citalopram, there were reports of citalopram overdose, including overdoses of up to 2000 mg, with no associated fatalities. During the postmarketing evaluation of citalopram, citalopram overdoses, including overdoses of up to 6000 mg, have been reported. As with other SSRIs, a fatal outcome in a patient who has taken an overdose of citalopram has been rarely reported.
Symptoms most often accompanying citalopram overdose, alone or in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol, included dizziness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, tremor, somnolence, and sinus tachycardia. In more rare cases, observed symptoms included amnesia, confusion, coma, convulsions, hyperventilation, cyanosis, rhabdomyolysis, and ECG changes (including QTc prolongation, nodal rhythm, ventricular arrhythmia, and very rare cases of torsade de pointes). Acute renal failure has been very rarely reported accompanying overdose.
Establish and maintain an airway to ensure adequate ventilation and oxygenation. Gastric evacuation by lavage and use of activated charcoal should be considered. Careful observation and cardiac and vital sign monitoring are recommended, along with general symptomatic and supportive care. Due to the large volume of distribution of citalopram, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit. There are no specific antidotes for citalopram.
In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple-drug involvement. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose.
Citalopram tablets should be administered once daily, in the morning or evening, with or without food.
Citalopram tablets should be administered at an initial dose of 20 mg once daily, with an increase to a maximum dose of 40 mg/day at an interval of no less than one week. Doses above 40 mg/day are not recommended due to the risk of QT prolongation. Additionally, the only study pertinent to dose response for effectiveness did not demonstrate an advantage for the 60 mg/day dose over the 40 mg/day dose.
20 mg/day is the maximum recommended dose for patients who are greater than 60 years of age, patients with hepatic impairment, and for CYP2C19 poor metabolizers or those patients taking cimetidine or another CYP2C19 inhibitor (see WARNINGS).
No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with mild or moderate renal impairment. Citalopram tablets should be used with caution in patients with severe renal impairment.
Neonates exposed to citalopram tablets and other SSRIs or SNRIs, late in the third trimester, have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding (see PRECAUTIONS). When treating pregnant women with citalopram tablets during the third trimester, the physician should carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of treatment.
It is generally agreed that acute episodes of depression require several months or longer of sustained pharmacologic therapy. Systematic evaluation of citalopram tablets in two studies have shown that its antidepressant efficacy is maintained for periods of up to 24 weeks following 6 or 8 weeks of initial treatment (32 weeks total). In one study, patients were assigned randomly to placebo or to the same dose of citalopram tablets (20 to 60 mg/day) during maintenance treatment as they had received during the acute stabilization phase, while in the other study, patients were assigned randomly to continuation of citalopram tablets 20 or 40 mg/day, or placebo, for maintenance treatment. In the latter study, the rates of relapse to depression were similar for the two dose groups (see Clinical Trials under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Based on these limited data, it is not known whether the dose of citalopram needed to maintain euthymia is identical to the dose needed to induce remission. If adverse reactions are bothersome, a decrease in dose to 20 mg/day can be considered.
Symptoms associated with discontinuation of citalopram tablets and other SSRIs and SNRIs have been reported (see PRECAUTIONS). Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate.
Switching a Patient To or From a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Intended to Treat Psychiatric Disorders
At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders and initiation of therapy with citalopram tablets. Conversely, at least 14 days should be allowed after stopping citalopram tablets before starting an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
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